At the biggest music ceremony in the UK on Saturday, Harry Styles took home four medals, including album of the year, and Wet Leg won group of the year and best new artist. Beyoncé now has two additional Brits on her already-full trophy case: international song of the year and international artist of the year, both for “Break My Soul.”
Less than a week after taking home the same prize at the Grammy Awards in the same category, Styles accepted the album of the year award for “Harry’s House.” In addition, he was named artist of the year, song of the year for “As It Was,” and pop/R&B act.
The boyband One Direction member praised “my mum for signing me up for ‘X Factor,'” the talent competition that helped launch his career while accepting the best-artist prize.
Some people perceived the statement as being blind to the challenges encountered by artists from various backgrounds. “I am very aware of my privilege up here tonight,” said Styles, who drew criticism for saying at the Grammys that “this doesn’t happen to people like me very often.”
Charli XCX, Rina Sawayama, Mabel, Florence + The Machine, and Becky Hill received shoutouts from Styles despite not making the Brit Awards’ all-male artist of the year shortlist.
In an effort to be more inclusive, the Brits replaced distinct male and female performance categories with gender-neutral honors two years ago. But this year’s Brit Awards released a best-artist shortlist with no female acts, drawing some criticism to the adjustment.
One of the adjustments made in response to long-standing complaints that the Brits failed to accurately represent the variety of British music was the switch to gender-neutral awards. The Brit Awards selection committee, made up of more than 1,000 music industry experts, was increased in 2017 in an effort to be more diverse and gender-balanced.